Divinely Inspired Victoriously Anointed Sisters (D.I.V.A.S.) was birthed ‘inadvertently’ yet with ‘precision planning’ by Udo Okonjo (Royal Phenomenal) and an ‘unsuspecting’ team of about 26 women from 6 countries at a series of events held from October 29-31st, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa originally to celebrate her 41st birthday and the birth of her miracle baby after recovering from Breast Cancer.
That first ‘inspired hangout’ grew to become a vision ‘to provide a forum for friendship among ladies, to celebrate, encourage and inspire one another especially in the areas of business and family life and to “live our best lives” -with passion, dedication and generosity’ and was validated by approximately 26 women from multiple nationalities, who attended the first ‘hangout’ in South Africa on the 29th of October at a night spa retreat and barbecue dinner where the women shared openly about life, love and living. Joyful tears flowed, hugs and encouragement followed, and even swimming pool accidents with one of the Grand D.I.V.A.S, Mrs. Catherine Iwenofu falling into the pool and sustaining multiple fractures. A difficult incident which although harrowing, was to cement the bond of friendship and sister hood among the women who rallied around and contributed to support her emotionally and financially in far off South Africa. Her ordeal on returning to Nigeria and needing to use a wheelchair at the airport led us to initiate our first charitable act of providing free wheelchairs and supporting the cause of enhanced accessibility in Nigeria.
Subsequently, Sophia Innih Mbakwe’s questions about reaching other women through having a similar event in Nigeria, encouraged Udo to initiate an event in December 2010 in Lagos, which subsequently held as the first Nigerian WOW HANGOUT at Clear Essence Spa.
Living this life to the full; empowering ourselves and one another, and thereby impacting our society, one woman, one family at a time has been at the core of our journey. Multiple POSSIBILITIES HANGOUTS as we call our events (The X Factor, Unleash the Champion, The Power Within, Created to Dazzle, Goals & Vision Programs etc) have been held to inspire, empower and connect women in Nigeria, Canada, the UK, South Africa, the US, Ireland, Ghana, Cameroun, Kenya and other locations.
Our Charity/Give Back platform started with a major charity ball in 2011 which sponsored wheelchairs for disabled people who could not afford it, and raised awareness through our Straight Talk Breast Cancer Prevention event. Visits were led by various members of the fast growing network to orphanages and subsequently by 2011, the WOW D.I.V.A.S ‘Autism to Genius’ Awareness project was initiated when we recognised how prevalent it was, with almost 15% of the mothers within our community having children on the spectrum. It has since been championed by Ifueko Karibi Whyte (Chairperson), Chika Omoruyi (UK), Augusta Izokun (Canada), Ayo Awodipe Idaomi (Nigeria), Esosa (UK) and several women who are passionate about building hope and empowering other affected families.
Our vision has come full circle, from a sisterhood in South Africa in October 2010 to a maturing vision to impact and empower millions of women across the world and together become a “force for good”. We are proud of our history and journey, yet look forward to what we know will be an exciting future ahead of us. “A future of Women Rising! At home, at work, business and in their communities, as leaders and change agents.”